Today I spent some time talking to a friend in the UK who has recently returned from a trip to India. During her trip she saw many ordinary Indian disciples of Jesus actually obeying Jesus and spreading the Gospel from village to village. In each village, the teams would preach the Gospel, distribute medical care and then start a church in the homes of people of peace. (If you haven’t read Matthew 10 then I suggest you do so now!) She said it was like seeing the book of Acts before her eyes.
My friend was very inspired and stirred up by what she saw and feels energised to put the things she learned into practice back here in the UK – which is equally as ‘unreached’ as India or anywhere else in my opinion.
I felt to ask my friend a question, “What did you notice about the workers there in India”?
After some thought she listed some characteristics of these ordinary disciples who were turning their region upside down in the name of Jesus. As she listed the qualities and things that stood out to her I chuckled to myself and thought that these qualities are actually frowned upon by most Churches and Christians I know here in the Western world. Actually I have personally suffered a lot of persecution and opposition for being that kind of person and for doing the very things that these Indian brothers and sisters were doing. It struck me that we have a serious issue here in the UK. The culture of churchianity is not breeding and multiplying disciples of Jesus. Most Churches teach and expect their people to do the opposite to what Jesus commands us to do.
I’m not trying to be provocative or silly here. I think there is a serious problem that needs addressing in love. I’ve outlined some of the stand out differences below and will blog about them more in the weeks to come…
By the way here’s a picture of Jesus’ church which shows how He made disciples.
I love a lot about the culture of Churchianity. I appreciate the worship music. The in depth expositional preaching. And the regular gathering of people who’ve been turning up at the same time each week for over 20 years. I question though how effective it is in actually training and equipping people to obey the commands of Jesus. And last time I checked – that was the one and only thing that Jesus asked all of His disciples to do! 12 years ago I made a decision to not spend my time on anything that was not leading to disciples being made. I made a covenant with Jesus that I would spend my life doing what He has said rather than pleasing people or mollycoddling the churches up and down this land that don’t actually teach people to obey Jesus. You can read more about our adventures in my book “Accidental Apostle” which you can buy online here
Amongst the network of new disciples and churches we have seen growing here in Somerset I am asking the same question! So please don’t think that I am just having a go at existing Churches here. Here in Somerset we don’t want the leafy distraction of meetings, ministry and activity for the sake of it – we seek the fruit of disciples who make more disciples. And may God continually prune us like Jesus says in John 15, so that we bear abundant fruit for our Lord!
Here are just a few reasons why I don’t believe Jesus was a Christian:
- Jesus preached the Gospel, Christians are just nice to people
- Jesus taught people to be like him, Christians ask people to say a prayer and come to meetings
- Jesus taught people by explaining what had just happened, Christians teach people rules, theories and information
- Jesus looked for those willing to be taught by the Father, Christians look for those willing to be taught by them
- Jesus learned to obey through suffering, Christians give up when things become hard
- Jesus modelled a life of sacrifice and discipleship for the sake of others, Christians aspire for titles and positions
- Jesus was called the friend of sinners, Christians just meet with other believers
- Jesus had a vision and goal that he gave his life for, Christians look for churches that meet their needs
- Jesus made disciples, Christians go to meetings and occasionally do outreach
- Jesus entrusted His global movement into the hands of ordinary men and women who demonstrated faith and perseverence, Christians look for leaders who can preach impressively, who know a lot and have been to seminary
Maybe if we stopped being ‘Christians’ and became more like Jesus then we’d see more fruit from our labor? More to come soon…
To read more you can order my book “Accidental Apostle” here and if you liked this post then please share it with others!